Author Topic: At a Loss  (Read 18495 times)

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doodlemor

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2012, 07:42:32 PM »

The big deal is that grandma just completely stole the boy's parents' Christmas thunder. That guitar was going to be special.  It was picked out with love, and his parents obviously looked forward to giving him his first guitar.

Grandma took that right away from them.  That's a pretty big deal, IMO.

I agree with this.  But let your husband handle this.  Grandma is very self centered and entitled.

I play the guitar.  Just because something is shaped like a guitar and has strings doesn't really mean that it is even playable.  I doubt that your son will necessarily want to play the thing that MIL bought.  If it was cheap at a thrift ship, it was there for a reason.  It's quite likely that MIL basically threw her money away.

Cheapo guitars are difficult to tune and keep in tune, the strings hurt the fingers more, and the sound is inferior.

ladyknight1

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2012, 07:42:43 PM »
When DS went to the in-law's house, she showed him the guitar, told him it was for him, and explained her reasoning for buying a used guitar to him. Later, she told him she is taking it to a local repair shop, to see what can be done for it.

I had been in the cold shoulder stage for a while, but I am strongly favoring the cut direct after this.

DH and I never mentioned the guitar to DFIL or MIL, DS had mentioned it in passing, specifically that he had asked us for one. Neither DH or I were ever asked if we were going to buy one.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 07:44:35 PM by ladyknight1 »

weeblewobble

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2012, 07:46:07 PM »
Go ahead with your plans to buy him a nice guitar.  Don't let your MIL ruin your plans.  Most musicians have a "good instrument" and a backup "angry practice" instrument.  So it's not a big deal for your son to have two.  If anything, working with a busted old instrument it might show your son how important it is to take good care of his guitar.


sevenday

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2012, 07:54:51 PM »
Yeah, this is cut direct time.  Based on your statement that you did not mention it to the in-laws, what gave her the idea that you would even LET your DS have a guitar?  (This is a parenting decision.)  I wanted a guitar when I was little. My parents didn't get it for me.  I had a fit, but later as I got older I realized they understood me better than I knew myself and I wouldn't have treated it well, and fell out of love with the idea soon enough anyway.  You know your DS better than anyone and know whether he would maintain the instrument and interest in it, et cetera.  It's not a choice of "do we buy him a matchbox car?" It takes commitment. Not to mention the noise level.   So yeah, WAY over the boundaries. 

I say you buy him the good guitar for Christmas as planned.  Let him take the cruddy one for kicking-around like to a friend's house.  That's if it's even repairable.  I wanted to say 'give it back to the MIL' but that would be punishing DS, who doesn't know your secret plans.  Then I would give MIL the cut direct.  There comes a point where someone's involvement in your life is more harmful than it is good.  She's proven herself willing to overstep her boundaries and make decisions for you regarding what goes into your house.  What will she try to give him next against your wishes? 

TootsNYC

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2012, 08:10:36 PM »
When DS went to the in-law's house, she showed him the guitar, told him it was for him, and explained her reasoning for buying a used guitar to him. Later, she told him she is taking it to a local repair shop, to see what can be done for it.

I had been in the cold shoulder stage for a while, but I am strongly favoring the cut direct after this.

DH and I never mentioned the guitar to DFIL or MIL, DS had mentioned it in passing, specifically that he had asked us for one. Neither DH or I were ever asked if we were going to buy one.

This is one of those things that would set me off. If he'd simply said he wanted to learn, that would be one thing. I couldn't get mad at Grandma. But that he had asked you for one?

I say, go ahead and give the one you've planned. Your son will "get it"--all the work, etc., that went into it.

And he'll probably also end up "getting" the idea of respecting these sorts of boundaries--it'll be good education for him.

blarg314

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2012, 08:11:27 PM »
I would reassure your son that you still plan to get him a proper guitar.

If it's playable but battered, you can keep it as a 'party' guitar - something your son can take places that you wouldn't want to take an expensive, high quality instrument (the beach, parties, etc). If it's not playable, throw it out.

ladyknight1

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2012, 08:14:55 PM »
Before we went on vacation back in September, I had begun to eliminate MIL from my life, no phone conversations and our only face to face visits were during family dinners. MIL told outright lies to my SIL about us and our plans while on vacation. She asked DH if we expected her to care for our animals while we were on our trip after telling my SIL that we were demanding she do that! I then realized that reality has nothing to do with what MIL thinks or says and that was enough for me. We had booked a professional weeks before our trip!

Many times, MIL has tried to compete with me, but this is the last one. We had already decided to do a low-key Christmas for everyone but DS, and now I am just sad that no matter what I do, there will not be a guitar surprise this Christmas. DS is old enough to realize MIL is competitive with me.  :(

Amara

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2012, 08:21:49 PM »
I am just sad that no matter what I do, there will not be a guitar surprise this Christmas.

No, no, this is wrong. There will be a guitar surprise for Christmas. It will be a gorgeous, incredible instrument that you DS is going to realize is way, way above what Grandma gave him. He will be thrilled beyond thrilled. And it will, I am sure, be even more of a surprise than originally because he will never be expecting another one, especially a fine one.

Go for it, OP. Nothing has been ruined between you, your DH and your DS. I will lay a thousand to one odds he is stunned on Christmas morning.

Surianne

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2012, 08:33:56 PM »
I'm not getting why this is a cut direct worthy offense, or really, any offense at all.  She didn't know you were planning to get him a guitar, from the sound of it?  So I don't see how she was intentionally stealing your gift.  It sounds like he mentioned he'd asked for a guitar, so she decided to buy him one.  Why is that so wrong?  Duplicate gifts happen.  If it's not deliberate, I don't see how it's malicious.

Your guitar sounds much better than the one she picked out, but having two is very useful.  I have my $300 guitar for camping trips, and my $800 guitar for home use.  I love them both and they're both quite special to me in different ways.  In fact, after playing the "lesser" guitar for a few months, he will likely appreciate the better one even more! 

(What's an archival quality guitar, by the way?  I'm still a relative newbie to the instrument so I've never heard the term and I'm super curious.)


AustenFan

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2012, 08:39:12 PM »
Ladyknight, did she know exactly what you were planning, or did she just know your son wanted a guitar?

If she just knew son wanted a guitar and that you guys are on a budget she probably figured that her buying it may take some of the strain off you guys with Christmas coming up. I can see my parents doing that for me & my kids in a heartbeat, but your mileage with your MIL obviously varies.

MrTango

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2012, 08:43:53 PM »
DH and I never mentioned the guitar to DFIL or MIL, DS had mentioned it in passing, specifically that he had asked us for one. Neither DH or I were ever asked if we were going to buy one.

Based on this, I wonder if maybe you're over-reacting a bit.  If you and your DH never mentioned to your FIL and MIL that you were planning on buying your DS a guitar, then there wasn't any way for them to know of your plans.

If they couldn't have known about your plans, how could they be stealing your thunder?

ladyknight1

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2012, 08:53:51 PM »
I'm not getting why this is a cut direct worthy offense, or really, any offense at all.  She didn't know you were planning to get him a guitar, from the sound of it?  So I don't see how she was intentionally stealing your gift.  It sounds like he mentioned he'd asked for a guitar, so she decided to buy him one.  Why is that so wrong?  Duplicate gifts happen.  If it's not deliberate, I don't see how it's malicious.

Your guitar sounds much better than the one she picked out, but having two is very useful.  I have my $300 guitar for camping trips, and my $800 guitar for home use.  I love them both and they're both quite special to me in different ways.  In fact, after playing the "lesser" guitar for a few months, he will likely appreciate the better one even more! 

(What's an archival quality guitar, by the way?  I'm still a relative newbie to the instrument so I've never heard the term and I'm super curious.)

As my 80's rocker friend put it, "buy a guitar that can be played for a few years, then stay in a closet until DS's kids want to play it and still be good to go". From what I was told, many of the "starter" guitars are mass produced with wood that warps easily and are not pieced together well. This reflects many of the things I have found wrong with the less expensive guitars we have seen. I don't have a set price point, but I know from my musical background that the bottom line is not the most important factor here.

 DS mentioned to MIL a month ago that he had asked us for a guitar. MIL took it upon herself to buy this one, and never mentioned it to DH or I. This is a repeated behavior on her part, as a sort of competition.

GSNW

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2012, 09:10:37 PM »
I think the important thing to note is that OP's DS told MIL that he asked his parents for a guitar.  This is not the same as saying, "I am hoping for a guitar for Christmas."  This is exactly the kind of line skirted by the manipulative and scheming MIL (and I believe she is exactly that).  I know for a fact that the generous family members I have that contributed to my childhood holiday glee cleared things with my parents first, as I now do with my younger cousins and neices. 

If this had been MIL's first issue it would be easy to resolve with a request that gifts be cleared with the parents.  It is not her first instance of competitive behavior and should be dealt with accordingly.  MIL overstepped by a long shot.

Deetee

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2012, 09:50:13 PM »
I would give MIL a heads up and let her know you already had the guitar picked out. Continue to give yours. Your son can have two.

Maybe hers can be used if he needs to go somewhere and doesn't want to take the real one. Or maybe it is so awful he never uses it.

It doesn't seem like a really big deal to me, as a bonus instrument seems useful.

The big deal is that grandma just completely stole the boy's parents' Christmas thunder. That guitar was going to be special.  It was picked out with love, and his parents obviously looked forward to giving him his first guitar.

Grandma took that right away from them.  That's a pretty big deal, IMO.

Before I reply, I want to note that  it is  obvious from subsequent posts that this is not an isolated incident and there is a lot of back story and that MIL has a history of behaving poorly. Therefore I think the OP should do what is right for her family.

That said, if this happened in my family, it simply wouldn't be an issue. I have a daughter and if the exact same situation happened where a grandparent bought a sad second hand instrument and I had bought a fantastic instrument of fabulousness, the thought that the grandparent was going to steal "my thunder" would simply not occur to me. I would only feel some concern that their gift would be completely overshadowed or sneered at (hopefully not sneered at as I plan to raise my kid better than that. She is only 4 now, so would love the one with most sparkles).

It is kind of embarrassing to give a decidely inferior gift, not thunder stealing at all. To minimize that,  I would likely arrange it so the main gift was given and then the back-up guitar would go with the music books, stand and other assessories so it was compared to those and not to the main present.

bbgirl

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Re: At a Loss
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2012, 11:22:42 PM »
With all of your background it sounds as though there is some major friction in the familial relationships that I'm sure have tons of preceding history.

With that said, I think you are completely overreacting in this situation. He mentioned something in passing, she didn't have any idea that your or your husband were going to get him one, she decides to buy him a beater that she's going to have fixed up for him to learn on. I really don't see the trampling on parental rights watoozy here that's being espoused that would lead to a cut direct.  Grandma did something she thought he'd like..you're mad but at an extreme level and I think your history with her is coloring your views on her intentions. 

My advice...though it's only worth the internet ink spent on it....let it go. Buy him the awesome guitar and don't say anything. Don't turn this into something not worth the drama for the mama.  Your son is richer in the long term being gifted a fantastic instrument and one that he can play around with outside or travelling without worrying he could damage it. The surprise is not gone and could be amped up if you play your cards right. (What? Two guitars?  Wow...) etc...

By the way, the idea of buying a used instrument for someone to learn on is an attitude I come across quite frequently as a music teacher.  Most people don't want to shell out the big bucks until they know the student is going to be interested long term. I myself have three different violins that I've acquired over 26 years of playing with the most recent one being my most expensive one that I saved up to get for months beforehand.